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U.S. Supreme Court

Lyon v. Mutual Benefit Health & Accident Assn., 305 U.S. 484 (1939)

Lyon v. Mutual Benefit Health & Accident Association

No. 189

Submitted December 12, 1938

Decided January 3, 1939

305 U.S. 484


1. A health and accident policy (governed by the law of Arkansas), issued and effective December 31, 1926, and reciting and providing that it is issued "in consideration of . . . the payment in advance of $74.00 the first year" and that "the payment in advance of . . . $16.00 quarterly thereafter, beginning with April 1, 1927, is required to keep this policy in continuous effect" construed as meaning and intending that the payment in advance of $74.00 would keep the policy in force until December 31, 1927, and that payment of $16.00 April 1, 1927, would extend the policy a quarterly period beyond December 31, 1927, and that successive payments of $16.00 at the beginning of each quarter following the quarter beginning April 1, 1927, would extend the policy correspondingly. P. 305 U. S. 488.

2. Delivery of the policy containing the recital that it "is issued in consideration of . . . the payment in advance of $74.00" established prima facie the fact of advance payment of that amount. Id. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Page 305 U. S. 485

3. Evidence supplementing this inference and showing payment of premiums was not incompetent as an attempt to alter the terms of the policy, but was admissible in proof of performance. P. 305 U. S. 489.

4. In a suit to recover upon a contract of insurance payable upon the death of the insured, held that there was competent and substantial evidence to show that payments had been made to the insurer in sufficient amount to keep the policy in force beyond the quarterly premium payment period in which the death occurred; that the evidence on this point supported the verdict and judgment of the District Court for the plaintiff, and that reversal of the judgment by the Circuit Court of Appeals was erroneous. P. 305 U. S. 489.

5. In a suit in Arkansas upon an Arkansas insurance policy, federal jurisdiction resting upon diversity of citizenship, the District Court, at the close of the evidence and upon the request of the defendant for a peremptory instruction, denied the request and directed a verdict for the plaintiff. There was ample evidence to justify the verdict. Held, that the court, consistently with the Conformity Act, followed the Arkansas procedural rule governing the effect of a request for a peremptory instruction, and that that rule did not deprive the defendant of any constitutional right. P. 305 U. S. 490.

95 F.2d 528 reversed.

Certiorari, post, p. 583, to review a judgment reversing a judgment for the petitioner in an action to recover upon a policy of insurance.

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